In the New Testament, Matthew writes, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
In the Satanic Bible, LaVey writes, “Hate your enemies with a whole heart, and if a man smite you on one cheek, smash him on the other!; smite him hip and thigh, for self-preservation is the highest law! He who turns the other cheek is a cowardly dog!”
Most men, even those who claim to be Christian, would probably endorse the satanic view over what Jesus taught—strength over love, self-defense over radical forgiveness, vengeance over compassion. I, however, see the satanic principle as a form of weakness, because it glorifies emotional reactivity.
To turn the other cheek signals emotional detachment, not submission. Submissiveness would be to go down to your knees, beg for mercy, start to cry, or do whatever evokes pity. But turning the other cheek isn’t done for pity. Rather, it’s a metaphor of emotional dominance that reestablishes proactivity.
If someone smites you on one cheek and you get so angry that you smash him on the other, then you have poor control of your emotions. Reflexive retaliation bespeaks a weak will.
By contrast, if the stroke doesn’t throw you out of mindcoolness, you can be more flexible in your response. Behavioral flexibility is freedom.
If you have the strength to control yourself, you can consider how you truly want to respond. What’s your goal, and what counteraction would help you achieve it?
You may smack or forgive the aggressor—that’s secondary. But whatever you do, you do it out of active choice, not out of passive emotion.